New report synthesises learnings from SA-EU Dialogue on cultural planning

Funded by the SA-EU Dialogue Facility under the EU-SA Strategic Partnership, the purpose of this exchange was to provide a platform for dialogue between SA and EU partners about the role of cultural mapping, planning and impact assessment in promoting sustainable and just cities.

We find ourselves in an unprecedented moment where global policy imperatives are increasingly recognising the role of culture as key in creating liveable cities. The Sustainable Development Goals, The African Union’s Agenda 2063, Habitat’s New Urban Agenda, and the UCLG’s Agenda 21 for Culture share a commitment to think of sustainability in environmental, economic, social, cultural and political terms. Despite these ideals, how these land in particular contexts – and specifically on the African continent – has yet to be adequately explored and understood. This SA-EU dialogue brought together a variety of South African and European practitioners, academics and experts to explore through study trips, best practice and case studies sharing and exchange, the role of culture in urban development. This SA-EU Dialogue focused on the following three dimensions:

Policy instruments: The dialogue focused on reviewing local and regional policy instruments identify ways to strengthen policy implementation through cultural mapping, planning and impact assessment.

Good practice: Although there may be helpful policy instruments to leverage, how these land in different contexts differs. In some places policies exist but are unimplementable. It was therefore important to explore examples of good practice from different contexts that can shape policy discussions. Partners bring a wealth of knowledge in this regard and can share the kinds of action-oriented experiences that may strengthen policy discourses and practices.

Dialogue: The exchange provided a platform for dialogue between role players from Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Gothenburg, Bilbao and Dublin, with an interest in developing sustained relationships between different partners that ideally extend beyond the scope of the SA-EU dialogue opportunity.

The report draws together expert case studies, reflections on the exchange and dialogue and shares some policy recommendations.